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Crapo: Bill would provide jobs, improve safety

Crapo language for transit, safe streets, rural programs included in final bill

WASHINGTON, DC – Idaho’s transportation infrastructure stands to get a significant boost thanks to provisions in the six-year highway reauthorization transportation bill negotiated by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo.

The reauthorization bill, known as SAFETEA, or the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act, passed the Senate today by a vote of 76-21. It authorizes federal aid for highways, highway safety programs and transit programs for six years. The previous transportation bill, the Transportation Equity Act or TEA-21, had expired at the end of last September and was extended until the end of this month.

Crapo championed a number of provisions that were included in final bill passed today, including measures to increase safety for school children, make improvements at railway-highway crossings, facilitate fire-breaks in highway right of ways, enhance fish passage and public access in federal lands, and also improve the rural density formula for transit programs in rural states like Idaho.

“A good transportation system promotes economic growth in Idaho and across the nation while improving our quality of life,” Crapo remarked. “It gets product from the farm and factory to the distribution centers, and on to stores and consumers. It enables us to move safely and efficiently to school, work, and across the state and country.

Above all, it translates into much-needed employment opportunities in a variety of areas. The transportation bill passed today in the Senate is expected to create as many as two million new jobs nationwide over the six-year duration of the bill.

In addition, Idaho will receive funding to create safer sidewalks and streets for our families, construct environmentally responsible passage for fish populations under roads, continue surface transportation repair and improvement, and improve mass transit efforts.”

Michael Gifford, Executive Vice President of the Idaho Associated General Contractors, thanked Crapo for boosting funding for Idaho.

“The Idaho Associated General Contractors are excited with the Senate passage of the highway bill, S. 1072. We salute Senator Crapo for his hard work in crafting this legislation. Idaho will see a 35.59% boost in funding over the next 6 years, which will improve our roads and bridges. This increase in funding will create thousands of jobs and reduce the number of fatalities on our highways,” Gifford said.

Idaho will receive under the bill (over the six-year period):

$1.7 billion for highway needs, a $450 million increase above current law.
$82.5 million for mass transit needs, a $49.1 million increase above current law.
$1.36 in projects for every $1 paid into Highway Trust fund.

“With the federal government owning so much land in Idaho and much of the West, federal investment in the transportation infrastructure is needed and appropriate,” Crapo added.

“Without good interstate and arterial routes in the rural states, citizens of our nation’s major metro areas could not efficiently move people and goods between the West Coast and the Midwest and the East. The measures adopted in this bill will ensure an efficient, effective transportation infrastructure in Idaho.”